By Benjamin H. Liles
For God has not called us to uncleanness, but to holiness...While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:7, 1 Peter 3:2
I wonder what it means to be holy in today's world. Does it mean to stay away from the things of this world that might put a blot on the person you are? It's possible. But could being holy have more to do with maintaining who God is in your every day life? I believe this is far more credible. Allow me to explain.
God isn't a created being. We read in Genesis 1, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1, Holman Christian Standard). We see God engaging in this activity of creating. So, how can God be a created being? I propose there is no rightful way to know lest God tell us Himself. And I don't exactly seeing Him doing that expressly with His mouth.
No, God is more than simply Someone who was creating. He was doing the creating for a reason. I believe, and this is an opinion Ben has, not fact: God made us to share with us who He is; He made everything to delegate to us responsibility for what He made, in order we might show Him back to Him. After all, He had Moses write this, "Then God said, 'Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth" (Genesis 1:26).
God is more than simply Spirit. He has intelligence; He has desires, He has emotions, He is the One who made everything with one direct purpose: to bring holiness and light to this world.
But what does it mean to be holy? Noah Webster, in his 1828 dictionary says this about the word holy: "Properly, whole, entire or perfect, in a moral sense...free from sin and sinful affections." I wonder how our lives would look if sin weren't part of our lives. Would we be this dull and lifeless thing that only serves God on high? I don't think so. A number of people who claim God doesn't exist, that He cannot be known, believe that those of us who love and serve God in all we say and do are "nothing but a community of people who are mindlessly going about serving a vindictive and angry God."
I wonder where their proof is? When I look at the life of Jesus and He said, "Truly, truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing by Himself, unless He sees the Father doing it. For whatever the Father does, the Son also does" (John 5:19, Berean Study). Jesus was perfect as the Father, God, is perfect. How can Christ who was born to die sin when He came not only to "give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45), but also to send "Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed" (Luke 4:18, New American Standard)? I contend that since scripture will always back up scripture that God cannot and will not lie.
Considering Christ came and He did those things He saw the Father doing, which was extending grace, extending merciful kindness by restoring His people to full capability: having sight, being able to walk, having the ability to speak, this isn't the act of a tyrant. No, rather this is a God of love; this is the act of a God who sees, who cares, who calls His people to be and do as He is actively doing.
Rather, God is holy because He Himself is without stain. He is the One who cannot sling any mud, because if He did He would be soiled and capable of sin. So, let us disabuse the notion God is somehow soiled. Actually, God is holy enough that when we ask Him to make us like Him, to make us holy as He is, we have the right mindset of our forefathers before us: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding" (Proverbs 9:10, Holman Christian Standard). In story after story within the Bibles pages, men come forward doing God's will and purpose as they caught sight of Him, His majesty, His...holiness.
What happened to Isaiah when he encountered God? He cried out: "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts" (Isaiah 6:5, New King James). Moses hid his face as he was afraid to look at God (Exodus 6:6). Abram fell on his face (Genesis 17:3). John says when He saw Christ, "I fell at His feet as dead" (Revelation 1:17). The disciples? "They fell on their faces and were greatly afraid" (Matthew 17:6).
No, I don't believe that there is anything dull about having a healthy God abiding fear on myself or in fact on others. It's okay. It causes one to think, to fully revel in the shadow and might of God, and not on their own personal strength. God's holiness impresses upon men and all that we all have sin and have sinned. But we can live in a better way.
We can, by the grace of God, through Christ Jesus come and be made new. We can have more than simple access to the Father. We have His power and might now. Once we have asked Him to come into our hearts, to live within and dwell within us, we can live life His way. Because it is by His strong hand that we can do all things. Yes, men may claim they can do a great deal on their own and by their own two hands, but godly men and women will be honest and true as to where the source of power lies: with God.
As I wrap this up I contend we can be the kind of people God comes to and asks we follow Him. In Revelation we see a God who is gentle and asks to dine with us: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me" (Revelation 3:20, New American Standard). Jesus also said, "You will be like servants waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks, they can open the door for him at once" (Luke 12:36).
We're told that when we do sin we can bring them to the One who forgives and cleanse us. It doesn't mean we delight in committing sin, but rather, we are humbled enough to desire to do things the way Christ does: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9, Berean Study). My friend, I hope this helps you out today, that it blesses and shows you it is by God's strength through Christ that keeps us from sin. We can abstain from sin as Christ never sinned. I pray this finds you well and blesses you in all you do. In Christ's name I pray. Amen.